Boeing to suspend 737 MAX production in January

Boeing Co. will temporarily halt production of its 737 MAX jetliner in January, according to a person briefed on the matter, escalating the crisis confronting the aerospace giant and raising the prospect of job cuts and furloughs across the global aerospace industry.

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The company has continued to assemble around 40 planes a month at its plant near Seattle since the MAX was grounded in March following a second fatal crash of the aircraft in five months.

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That has created a backlog of around 400 jets as Boeing has sought regulatory approval for the MAX to return to service. Airlines and government officials don't expect that approval to come until February at the earliest.

Boeing's decision to halt production of the 737 MAX is likely to reverberate throughout the U.S. economy. The plane maker is the nation's largest manufacturing exporter and one of the top private employers.

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A Boeing spokesman didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.